The Duluth News-Tribune’s Christa Lawler is this year’s top columnist in the Best of the Northland awards, but she won’t be for long. Lawler has declined to accept the award, shocking the region and leaving runner-up Paul Ryan to take the reigns. He will receive both the bragging rights and the $400,000 cash prize that comes with the honor.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking this weekend, and I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone who reads the Duluth Reader smells like farts,” said Lawler, in a quote totally not made up by one of her rivals writing a pretend news story about her. “Because of this, and only this, I will be declining the award. Paul Ryan is now the best columnist in the Northland. Frankly, he always has been. I don’t know what these country yokels were thinking, voting him into second place yet again.”
Some find Lawler’s timing for the announcement a bit too convenient. Currently on parole for throwing a soiled diaper at a bald eagle, Lawler’s kind gesture seems to be giving her a public relations boost, distracting the public from the numerous photos of poop eagles that otherwise would have dominated the front page news this week. Lawler claims the timing is merely a coincidence.
“Look, Paul Ryan is a national treasure,” said Lawler, biting her lip until it bled. “My only intention is to do the right thing. Anyone who has met Paul knows that he’s the best writer in the whole universe, not just this two-whore dump of a newspaper. I’ve also heard he smells amazing in person. Everyone in town talks about that. Anytime someone is talking about Paul, you know they’re discussing the pleasant fragrance of lilacs during summer bloom.”
Yet that’s not Lawler’s only scandal that would benefit from a distraction. The Duluth News-Tribune’s most talented writer is also under fire for mailing a banana to The Pope. Though likely intended as a kind gesture by Lawler, The Vatican assumed the gift to be phallic in nature and banned her from Vatican City for life, even the gift shop.
In addition to the Poop Eagle and Popenana controversies, Lawler also received a parking ticket. A pretty big one. Nearly 40 minutes after the meter had expired. Her lawyer, Philbert Dinkles, spoke to the media on Monday to clear the air.
“Ms. Lawler is a pillar of the community,” said Dinkles. “Flip flops and applesauce! Nothing to see here, folks! Move along! Don’t think I don’t see you back there, mister! I know all the tricks! Move along!”
Sam Cook of the Duluth News-Tribune, last year’s top columnist, placed third this year. One might expect graceful defeat based on the cool, calming nature of Cook’s columns. One would be wrong.
“What a bunch of horseshit,” said Cook, spitting into his hand and using it to put out his cigarette. “Paul paid me a hefty sum of money to take a dive and write terrible columns this year. I figured I’d still be second place, but maybe I could afford HBO. I hear Game of Thrones has some very creative nudity in the first season. But now I’m in third place, my reputation is shot, and Paul is demanding his money back. Crap like this is why I spend most of my time alone in the woods.”
Voters don’t seem to care about the controversy, or even have any recollection of voting at all.
“I voted? I don’t remember voting,” said Joe Townsend of Superior, who voted six times. “My friends and I head out to the bar three or four nights a week, and usually drink until we blackout. I must have voted then. I guess I read the Duluth Reader when I’m drunk? Jesus, maybe I do need to get some help. My parents, roommates, co-workers, ex-girlfriend, current girlfriend, and pastor are right. I’m wasting my life.”
A recent poll found that nearly 100% of Best of the Northland votes came from people too intoxicated to properly function. This likely explains why a profane columnist who makes up stories about beloved community members sharting themselves is about to be crowned as the region’s “best.” Despite this new data, Lawler still insists that her support of Ryan is sincere.
“Paul Ryan is my favorite writer, even now in his 13th year when it’s clear that he’s half-assing most of it,” said Lawler. “The Academy of Motion Pictures will give Leonardo DiCaprio an honorary Oscar when he’s old and about to die, and that’s what I’m doing now for Paul. Like DiCaprio, he’s never going to win it on his own because he’s a huge douche and nobody likes him, but he has some small inkling of talent, so we might as well give him one before his liver dies out. Maybe once he wins, he’ll stop writing these stupid columns about us.”
Lawler has noted that she won’t be holding her breath.